Anita Alvarez: The coach dives into the pool to save the American swimmer at the world championships

Coach Andrea Fuentes jumped into the pool after seeing the 25-year-old technical swimmer sink to the bottom at the end of her routine in a women’s singles event on Wednesday.

Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming, lifted Alvarez to the surface before helping her over the edge of the pool.

Reuters reports that Alvarez, who competed in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, received medical care by the pool, and was subsequently transported on a stretcher.

It was the second time Fuentes had to save Alvarez, according to Reuters, after she jumped into the pool during an Olympic qualifying event last year and pulled her to safety, along with American swimming partner Lindy Schroeder.

Speaking to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope in a radio interview, Fuentes said rescuers did not react quickly enough on Wednesday, which is why she jumped in.

She said, “When a swimmer finishes his routine, the first thing he wants is to breathe and so I saw that instead of going up, she was going down and I said to myself, ‘Something’s going on,’ and I called the lifeguards, like, ‘Go into the pool, don’t you see she’s going down in the water?'” ?”

“And they didn’t react, so after a few seconds, I got in as fast as I could.

“I don’t think I ever swam that fast, even when I got Olympic medals and so well, in the end, I was able to get up and wasn’t breathing… In the end, everything came out fine.

Alvarez was brought to the surface of the pool.

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) – the sport’s governing body – did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the speed of the rescue.

But in a statement to CNN on Thursday, FINA said it had been in contact with Alvarez, her team and medical personnel in the wake of what it described as a “medical emergency.”

“Ms. Alvarez was treated immediately by a medical team at the scene and is in good health,” the statement read.

In a statement on USA Swimming’s Instagram page, Fuentes said Alvarez would rest on Thursday and consult her doctor to see if she would be fit to compete in the team’s freestyle finals, which is scheduled for Friday, according to FINA.

Picture Alvarez competing during the Free Solo Final event.
“Anita is fine – the doctors checked all the vitals and everything was normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… Everything is fine,” Fuentes said in the statement.

“We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-end endurance sports. Marathon, cycling, cross country… We have all seen pictures where some athletes don’t reach the finish line and others help them get there,” he added.

“Our sport is no different, only in the swimming pool, we cross the line and sometimes we find it. Anita is feeling good now and the doctors also say she is fine.”

Alvarez – Technical Swimming Athlete of the Year 2021 in the USA – ranked seventh. Japan’s Yukiko Inoue took the gold, while Ukraine’s Marta Vidina and Greece’s Evangelia Platanotti came second and third, respectively.

Alvarez was born in Kenmore, New York, and competed in the 2012 US Olympic Trials, at the age of 14.

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